Analysis of the 1H NMR data of paclitaxel in comparison with its oxetane ring-opened analogue D-secopaclitaxel suggests that the oxetane moiety (D-ring) of paclitaxel serves as a conformational lock for the diterpene moiety and the C13 side chain.
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The corresponding record at NLM can be accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10571172